WILLIAM DRABBLE & SONS LTD
Story written by Gillian Sedgwick (nee Drabble) and John Sedgwick.
The originator was John Drabble from Harthill who was apprenticed to his uncle a Mr Grant, a stone mason, living in the Pingle.
John eventually, with nine men built 32 High Street which for many years was the H Q of the business.
It was from here that all the stone was dressed for the building of The Wesleyan Chapel Mosbrough in 1888, which opened in 1889. It was actually built by his son William, supervised by John from a wheelchair as he had acute arthritis.
Before this time however, actually in 1873 William had founded William Drabble & Sons but he died on 13 May 1913. However, his father John lived on until November 1916.
William Hugh Drabble then inherited the business at the age of 20. This was a huge responsibility with five brothers and sisters all younger than himself. Mrs William Drabble (nee Olive Riley) saw to it that the business kept together.
The three brothers Hugh, Jack and Eric went into the business. Hugh was the practical man; Jack did most of the pricing work and Eric was responsible for accounts and office work.
Business flourished between the two wars and for a long time afterwards when a large amount of local authority work took place. The number of workmen rose to be over a hundred and by far these most highly skilled men came from Mosborough and the immediate vicinity.
The Hollow Lane estate was started in 1964-65, on land attached to Mosborough Hall Farm and is now completed. Time marched on and the three directors died Hugh 1966, Jack 1966 and Eric 1973.
When the firm was founded in 1873 a clause stated there were to be no female directors, so it was left to Hugh’s two sons Derrick and David to carry on the business. Derrick had joined in 1947 after the War Service and David joined in 1948 on leaving school.
Sadly, it all came to an end. Derrick died of a terminal illness, leaving two daughters, whilst David’s two sons had no desire to be part of a building concern. Barratt bought out the business in 1979.
There are a number of “memorials” to the firm including Eckington Drill Hall, Eckington Church Hall, numerous Fire Stations, St Peters Round Church at Gleadless, Hackenthorpe Methodist Church, Hollow Lane Estate and William Crescent, and Olive Road named after the founders William and Olive Drabble.
They were builders “par excellence” and their houses are much sought after even today, this being a tribute both to the firm and its excellent work force.
The picture above was Reg Maleham’s Blacksmiths in Drabbles yard.
Thanks to Gillian and John Sedgwick